Mar 052015
 

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The rain spits a little more urgently, a little more aggressively than last time. A couple of kids slide past me up the hill: quiet, intent. The station – and all it means – finally starts to fade from my mind. A single punch of thunder signals – wearyingly – that it’s all about to happen again. The lights. The spinning. The silence. The shadow. The new-old life. This one, they tell me, is comedy, not tragedy: Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:15 pm
Feb 162015
 

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I consider carving this moment into a poem. In the half-closed eye of the storm: a still life. Trees and peace and water, a sweet sunlight. I wonder if it was really Monet’s failing eyesight that gave birth to his impressions. I wonder if I should go to Giverny.

Two men stroll past, hand-in-hand, wearing lumberjack shirts and an each-other ease: the grace of God. An Asian couple suck the life out of reeking fags, spark images of Gitanes-posing at a Gordon Road disco and the ignominy of The Last Dance. I hear Bach; I watch brightly-coloured plastic dragons bob on the lake, holding fire as the pretty Polish girl ties them up for the winter. The smell of bacon does its damnedest, ducks squawk, families walk and the mumumumum of a baby mocks my sudden broodiness.

And the People’s Palace watches it all: serene, pragmatic. I can see it from the top of my road, did you know that? There, it looks misty and magical, offers up music and a kind of rhyme. Here, it breathes safety, something quite certain, something quite prosaic.

The pregnant woman at the next table whispers on her phone. I have no thought, no feeling. There is, abruptly, silence. I consider carving this moment into a poem.

 

 

 Posted by at 7:53 pm
Feb 162015
 

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I’ve passed seven street corners on this bus journey so far. On six of them stand ex-pubs. Inside the ex-pubs are, I imagine (though, let’s face it, it doesn’t take that much imagination), ghosts. Ghosts of men mostly, ghosts of hard men, real men, men’s men, each pretending he’s escaping ‘er indoors, the missus, the ball and chain. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 7:47 pm
Jan 262015
 

QUEENS WOOD

 

1.  Simply snap off a firm but flexible Y-shaped twig from a nearby hazel or willow.
2.  Select a park, a wood, a copse, a forest, a mountain: Clissold Park, Highgate, that secret place from childhood, the Bois de Boulogne, Black Mountain.
3.  Go there.
4.  With your twig.
5.  Hold the twig as if it were the handles of a lawnmower or a Harley.
6.  Except with your hands sort of turned inside out and upside down.
7.  I don’t know why.
8.  Wait for the ideomotor effect to make the twig quiver with a slightly disappointing mild excitement.
9.  Quiver with a slightly disappointing mild excitement.
10. Tell your companion there’s definitely water/gold/oil/a rare Clash bootleg under your feet.
11. Realise you’ve forgotten your shovel.
12. Realise you’ve forgotten to bring a companion.
13. Go home and construct your own metaphor.

 

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
Jan 222015
 
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Imagine a hay wagon. Imagine Hardy or Constable. Suffolk. Dorset. Imagine the gentle rocking shuffle of a summer’s day. Straw-in-mouth vacuity. Cider-born sloth.

 

Imagine a stallion. Imagine a sleek sheen and a surge that unnerves in its sex and its charge. Imagine wind-in-hair joy and the petit mort of clinging to its back.

 

Imagine a man now – stooped, cane-carrying, tight. Imagine he was instructed by his own father always to come third in his class, to never – ever! – draw attention to his intelligence. Imagine his heart.

 

Imagine that man approaching you wherever you are right now. Imagine his eyes – night-black, fierce. Now imagine that voice you’ll never forget, the voice of the one that got away. You know the one.

 

Imagine the man talks to you in that voice. Imagine he asks you two things. Imagine he asks you first if you’ve ever found a truth for which you can live and die. A reason. Imagine your answer.

 

Imagine he asks you now if your existence is riding the stallion or snoozing in the hay cart. Imagine your answer. But imagine that answer spoken to him by the voice of your father.

 

Imagine saying goodbye to the man. Imagine watching him move away from you, disappearing finally. Carry on whatever you were doing. Don’t ever think about any of this again.

 

 Posted by at 9:49 pm
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